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Swiss deny citizenship to Muslim girls who refuse swimming with boys


Geneva:  Switzerland authorities rejected the naturalization application of two Muslim girls age 12 and 14, who refused to participate in their school’s compulsory swimming lessons with males in the pool, in the latest case exposing the challenges of integration in the Alpine country.

According to Swiss media, the incident happened last year, but was only publicized this week.

The sisters did not comply with the school curriculum, therefore, their application for naturalisation was rejected, reported Basel authorities.

“Whoever doesn’t fulfill these conditions violates the law and therefore cannot be naturalized,” Stefan Wehrle, president of the naturalisation committee, told TV station SRF on Tuesday.

The girls who live in the northern city of Basel,  say their religion prevents them from taking part in the school’s co-ed swimming lessons because boys were present in the pool at the same time.

They had applied for Swiss citizenship several months ago, but their request was denied, Swiss media reported  on Tuesday.

Applicant for Swiss citizenship must prove that they are integrated with Swiss society and respect local customs.

In April, a Syrian family’s citizenship bid was halted after two brothers, ages 14 and 15,  refused to shake the hands of their female teachers citing religious restrictions.

On Wednesday, a Muslim father was fined for refusing to allow his daughters to take swimming lessons at school. The unnamed 40-year-old man was ordered to pay 4,000 Swiss francs ($4,000, 3,700 euros), the ATS news agency said in a report.

The incidents show that those who don’t follow Swiss rules and customs won’t get Swiss citizenship

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